JACKSON, Mississippi (WJTV) – Children’s of Mississippi has many medical specialists, including experts in plastic surgery, oral-maxillofacial surgery, dentistry, orthodontics, audiology, genetics, social work, and speech-language pathology.
Mississippi’s only cleft team with approval from the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA) holds a twice-monthly multidisciplinary clinic at the Eli Manning Clinics for Children in the state’s only children’s hospital.
Children born with cleft lip, palate, and facial clefts may have difficulty breathing and feeding, and later speaking. Patients with rare clefts involving the eye also need eye care.
“The ACPA approval standards are high so we are proud to be an ACPA approved slot team. UMMC’s resources allow us to provide the full range of care needed for patients born with cleft lip, cleft palate and complex facial clefts, ”said Dr. Ian Hoppe, chief surgeon at the Children’s of Mississippi and leader of the slots team. .
About one in 1,600 babies is born with a cleft lip and palate, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Complex facial clefts are very rare and their prevalence is not well understood.
Children born with a cleft lip, cleft palate and cleft faces need care from a variety of specialists throughout their childhood and into their teens, Hoppe said. The Children’s of Mississippi’s multidisciplinary cleft clinic includes them all.
“Babies with cleft lip and palate can have feeding problems, so we have a feeding specialist on our team. Children who have surgery for their clefts need pediatric anesthesiologists to put them to sleep because of the unique abnormalities their airways can present. They are therefore part of our team and with each surgery we perform.
Around the age of 18 months to 2 years, children born with clefts start seeing speech-language pathologists, and it is important that their speech-language pathologists “know how to care for children with clefts,” Hoppe said. “Our speech-language pathologist Kara Gibson specializes in split patients.”
Child psychologists on the team research any developmental issues, and social workers make sure patients’ families have resources ranging from food and transportation to educational assistance.
“A lot of our families are doing well,” said social worker Brittannie Goodman, “but if they need anything, we are there for them and can connect them with resources.”
The Children’s of Mississippi Multidisciplinary Cleft Clinic can be a “center where families can connect to be referred to otolaryngologists, ophthalmologists, neurologists, orthopedists and other specialists as needed,” said Hoppe said.